UK telecom regulatory authority Ofcom is setting the stage for the auction of low power radio spectrum in the 1.8GHz frequency band, paving the way for companies to build private GSM networks in their offices using existing handsets. The handsets could also be used to roam on to localised base stations in the 1.8GHz band to connect via the firm’s PBX network.
Ofcom intends to issue between five and ten tradable licences for the low power ‘guard band’, in the 1781.7 to 1785MHz and 1876.7 to 1880MHz range, on the basis of ‘equal access to the whole of the bands in the UK on a shared basis’. The auction will be the first to award spectrum on a technology neutral basis since Ofcom published its spectrum framework review in 2004. One company looking to take advantage of the auction is Coffee Telecom, which is hoping to create thousands of Coffee Zones in hotels, railways stations and shopping centres if it is successful in its bid.